Jedi Fallen Order: Video Game Review
I went into my playthrough of Fallen Order with high hope's, little did I know that they would be met and simultaneously dashed. Jedi Fallen Order is a game of two halves as the soccer parlance goes. On one hand, you have the best single-player Star Wars game since The Force Unleashed and on the other, you have a game which could have given a level of polish that is worthy of a AAA developed game.
In terms of the overall aesthetic, the look of Jedi Fallen Order is impressive in some areas and sizably unimpressive in others. The main gripe is that the game does not look like a title that has come at the end of the Xbox 1 and PS4 lifecycle. By this stage, all developers are well versed in how to deliver games that have a certain level of polish. Jedi Fallen Order in terms of visuals looks decidedly unfinished. My playthrough on a standard Xbox 1 was riddled with stuttery moments, slow down, glitches, poor texture loading times (30 seconds was not out of the ordinary) and fairly average collision detection. I certainly wondered if the experience would be different on a system that has a bit more bite to it but alas I don't have an unlimited supply of cash to test that theory out. Besides this game is available for PS4 and Xbox 1 and in my humble opinion, it should run flawlessly on both. Sadly this was not the case.
It's not all doom and gloom though as Jedi Fallen Order has many positives that can be discussed. For me, as a huge star wars fan, the lore is always something I was going to be interested in and it was certainly a pleasant surprise to see some familiar faces turn up from some of the movies.
Story-wise you get great bang for your buck, Jedi fallen order is a memorable romp through the star wars universe giving us fans some much-desired info on what happened between episode 3 and 4. The fact you gain a very satisfying ending is a huge plus in terms of story and really made me ignore some of the previous irritations I had with the game.
Fallen order is of course extremely linear but that is never a bad thing if executed well. Respawn managed to pull this off and kudos to them for their efforts in this regard. Cal Castice is a decent protagonist if not a little generic. The story turns him from a boy into a Jedi warrior. He did, of course, escape order 66 and the clutches of the empire and in order to do that, a certain level of charm and cunning would be evident. However, at the beginning of the game, you are very wet behind the ears and nieve thus making progression on a skills-based system something I felt that worked really well.
The gameplay is where Jedi Fallen order excels and although I am not a fan of the Souls games I did make sure I battled my way through more than half of the game before ditching that type of experience in favour of a more story-based playthrough. Combat is fun for the most part when you are not waiting for the loading screen to finish. I clocked it a couple of times at over 60 seconds which is a long wait especially if you are in the thick of the action.
Respawn, in my view, did a great job making you feel at home with Jedi Fallen Order in particular with a lightsabre. My only gripe is that the responsiveness felt off a bit at times and this could be for two reasons,
1. I am getting old and suck a little more at games than I used to.
2. The optimisation in terms of latency is not what it should be. I'll happily chalk it up to a little bit of both and move on.
During combat, it is a fairly simple parry/ dodge / use the force type deal and it really is genuinely fun when it gets going. Battling storm troopers with your force abilities whilst wielding a lightsabre really is a joy when it all comes together.
Another element that adds to the combat and gameplay, in general, is the music and sound. Of course, the music was going to be good, this is star wars after all. Respawn and the music department have outdone themselves here with some excellent adaptive music and is a real homage to the work John William's did throughout the original and best trilogy of movies.
The sounds on offer in Jedi Fallen Order are also of a high standard with the blaster, lightsabre and force sounds all pushing the appropriate buttons within my psyche. There is nothing better when entering a room, igniting your lightsabre to deflect a few blaster shots whilst hearing that very familiar and famous theme tune blaring in the background. It really did transport me back to my childhood and for me, that is part of what gaming is all about.
Overall I'd say that Jedi Fallen Order is a very good, but not great, Star Wars game. It has positives for sure but the optimisation and lack of polish really let it down and in some ways dampened my experience.
Is it worth a full RRP?
The force is tilting towards the light side here but my suggestion is to wait for a sale.
*Further Info: I have spoken to a number of people after this review and it seems that many issues are contained to low-end PCs or standard ps4/ Xbox 1. It is my understanding that the polish and optimisation issues are much less pronounced on the Xbox X and Ps4 Pro. In that regard, I would say it is a definite buy if you own a more up to date system like an Xbox 1 X or PS4 Pro.